Man swims across river to help helicopter crash victims

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SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Sevierville man was one of the first to arrive on the scene of a deadly sightseeing helicopter tour wreck that killed five people.

Carl McCarter said he was outside mowing his lawn when he heard something and initially thought he hit something with his mower. He said he then saw something hit the water and saw the fire from the helicopter from across the river. McCarter said he called 9-11 to report a fire and the dispatcher told him there was a report of a helicopter that had gone down.

McCarter said he didn't think twice about his next move when he jumped into the water to swim to the other side to try and help.

"If there was anything I could do I wanted to be over there where I could do it. I couldn't do it from this side of the river," McCarter said. "It's harder to deal with today than it was yesterday. I didn't give it no thought yesterday. But it was tough sleeping last night thinking about it. Thinking about the families what they're thinking with their loved ones gone."

Investigators have confirmed the identities of the five people who were on board a sightseeing helicopter that crashed and killed all of the passengers.

The Pigeon Forge Police Department identified the pilot as 38 year old Jason Dahl and the four passengers as 49 year old Johna Morvant, 22 year old Peyton Rasmussen, 18 year old Parker Rasmussen, and 21 year old Michael Glenn Mastalez.

Morvant is the mother of Peyton and Parker Rasmussen.

Local 8 News spoke with neighbors of Johna and her husband, Keith, after authorities released their names. Several said they were in shock that something like this happened so close to home, while others said the family is "salt of the earth type people".

Keith Morvant was out of town when the wreck happened. A neighbor said Morvant returned home on Tuesday evening and met with his pastor. He said Morvant is asking for his privacy while he mourns.

NTSB said it will release its preliminary report on the wreck in about a week, but the full report will likely take about a year to complete.